PAGASA declares start of La Niña

Steel yourself, La Niña is here and is likely to persist until the first quarter of 2022, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

La Niña, a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean waters along the tropical west coast of South America, is considered the counterpart to El Nino, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial region of the Pacific Ocean.

PAGASA Deputy Administrator Esperanza Cayanan, in a virtual press conference, Friday said: "Recent oceanic and atmospheric conditions indicate La Niña has developed in the tropical Pacific.”

She said four to six tropical cyclones are expected to enter or develop in the Philippine Area of Responsibility.

Most of these are landfalling tropical cyclones, forecast to enhance the northeast monsoon and trigger floods, flash floods, and rain-induced landslides over susceptible areas, particularly in the eastern section of the country which normally receives greater amounts of rainfall at this time of the year.

La Niña is usually associated with above normal rainfall conditions over most parts of the country.

Cayanan said adverse impacts were likely over the vulnerable areas.

Meanwhile, weather specialist Ana Clauren said the southwest monsoon or "habagat" has weakened, prompting PAGASA to declare that the "habagat season" is officially over.

"So (the country) is now in the transition period towards what we call the northeast monsoon or 'amihan' season. Gradual cooling is expected in the coming days and weeks," she said.

Despite the onset of La Niña, Clauren said no tropical cyclone is forecast to affect the country in the next two to three days.

But she noted that PAGASA was monitoring the situation and urged local government units to prepare for possible impacts of La Niña. 

Topics: PAGASA , La Niña , Esperanza Cayanan , Philippine Area of Responsibility
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